Retaining sterling would leave an independent Scotland tied to UK economic policy and limit its ability to tackle social exclusion, according to a think-tank.

The Scotland Institute, a think-tank which aims to present voters with facts about constitutional change, said Scotland "cannot afford to leave key areas such as monetary policy to Westminster".

A report on social exclusion advises MSPs to pursue greater devolution for specific Scottish policies for Scottish problems, and to ensure it has some influence over the Westminster policy process.

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Author Dr Roger Cox argues if Scotland is independent but retains sterling "the policies necessary to prevent social exclusion in Scotland are unlikely to be developed".

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "An independent Scotland with full powers of welfare will be able to develop a fair system that addresses Scottish circumstances, in line with the needs and values of our people."